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Prozac FAQs

Q: What is Prozac?

A: Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder. Prozac is in a class of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Prozac is made by Eli Lilly and Company and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987.

Q: Are there any special instructions for taking Prozac?

A: Prozac is taken by mouth, with or without food, as prescribed by your healthcare professional. Take the weekly version of Prozac only once a week. Do not start taking the weekly version of Prozac until 7 days after you've taken the last dose of the daily Prozac.

Q: Has there been any news about Prozac?

A: Over the years, the FDA has worked closely with the manufacturers of all marketed antidepressants (including Prozac) to fully evaluate the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and adults treated with these medications. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly and Company added a black box warning to Prozac's prescribing information describing the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents taking antidepressants.

In 2006, the FDA issued two alerts related to Prozac. The first FDA alert states that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when SSRIs (such as Prozac) and medicines used to treat migraine headaches known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans), are taken together.

The second FDA alert announced the results of a study concerning the use of antidepressant medicines during pregnancy in mothers of babies born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). However, in 2011, the FDA altered its position and declared it premature to link SSRIs and PPHN.

Q: Who should not take Prozac?

A: Never take Prozac if you are taking another drug used to treat depression called a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), or if you have stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Taking Prozac and an MAOI within a close period of time can result in serious (and sometimes fatal) reactions including high body temperature, coma, and seizures (convulsions). Do not take an MAOI within 5 weeks of stopping Prozac

Never take Prozac if you are taking Mellaril (thioridazine), a drug used to treat schizophrenia. Do not take Mellaril within 5 weeks of stopping Prozac. Taking Prozac and Mellaril within a close period of time can result in serious heartbeat problems.

Q: Are there any serious health risks associated with Prozac?

A: Health risks associated with Prozac use include possible development of serotonin syndrome when Prozac is taken with triptan medicines, infant persistent pulmonary hypertension in babies born to mothers taking Prozac, suicidal thoughts or actions, severe allergic reactions, bleeding problems, mania, seizures (convulsions), weight loss, and sexual problems.

Stopping Prozac suddenly could result in harmful side effects. Your healthcare professional should slowly decrease your dose. Other problems associated with Prozac use may develop if you are or may become pregnant.

Q: Are there any other side effects associated with Prozac?

A: Other side effects associated with Prozac use include nausea, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, nervousness, and sleepiness.

Q: Are there any interactions between Prozac and other drugs or foods?

A: Prozac and certain other medicines can interact with each other. Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take - including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and especially those that affect bleeding and those used to treat diabetes, seizures, anxiety, mental illness, or depression.

Do not take Prozac with Sarafem (Prozac hydrochloride), a drug used to treat PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). These drugs are very similar and could result in an overdose. If you plan to drink alcohol when taking Prozac, talk to your healthcare professional.

Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of taking Prozac?

A: Injuries related to Prozac use are serious, particularly those to babies who were born to mothers taking the drug. If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions related to Prozac use, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. It's also in your best interests to have the facts of your situation reviewed an experienced product liability attorney in order to learn more about your legal options. 

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